Report: “The Number of Heavy Metal Bands in a Given Country is Associated with its Wealth and Affluence”

  • Axl Rosenberg

ozzy smokes cashWith its community’s emphasis on DIY and scorn for anything that appears to value commerce over art, I think most people would probably assume that metal is most enjoyed by the working class. It was certainly started by the working class — in case you’re unaware, the dudes in Black Sabbath didn’t exactly grow up with silver spoons in their mouths.

And yet a new report from CityLab asserts that quite the opposite true — that metal is mostly popular amongst the white collar.

See, author Richard Florida noticed that this 2012 map measuring which countries throughout the world have the most metal bands per 100,000 people suggested that “The genre holds less sway in the ravaged postindustrial places of its birth, but remains insanely popular in Scandinavian countries known for their relative wealth, robust social safety nets, and incredibly high quality of life.” So Florida recruited the Martin Prosperity Institute’s Charlotta Mellander to study “the connections between heavy metal and a range of economic and social factors.” And what did Florida and Mellander discover?

“What we found is that that the number of heavy metal bands in a given country is associated with its wealth and affluence.

“At the country-level, the number of heavy metal bands per capita is positively associated with economic output per capita (.71); level of creativity (.71) and entrepreneurship (.66); share of adults that hold college degrees (.68); as well as overall levels of human development (.79), well-being, and satisfaction with life (.60).”

So why is this the case? While the Swedish Mellander “attributes Scandinavia’s proclivity for heavy metal bands to its governments’ efforts to put compulsory music training in schools, which created a generation with the musical chop to meet metal’s technical demands,” Florida himself takes a far less romantic view:

“…while new musical forms may spring from disadvantaged, disgruntled, or marginalized groups, it is the most advanced and wealthy societies that have the media and entertainment companies that can propagate new sounds and genres, as well as the affluent young consumers with plenty of leisure time who can buy it.”

Read the entire article here.

Thanks: David G.

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